Monday, January 14, 2008


OK....I am writing this on my little Palm T/X sitting in a big overstuffed chair front of a fire in a big stone fireplace in a 18th century farmhouse up a tiny path along a creek in the coastal mountains of Bizcaya.....the Balcony of Bizkaya, as they say here. Biskaya is Basque for Biscay.....well, actually Biscay is our talk for Biskaya.....the north coast of Spain vaguely near France. There is no cell service, no internet....but there is a big sheepdog named Ilargy. And a big grandfather clock thumping away in the background like the old house's beating heart. We are the only guests.

We stayed here last year in the midst of a one-meter snowstorm......we barely made it in, and barely made it out the next day. The house is stone, with cherrywood beams, stairs and flooring. You definitely take off your shoes in this farmhouse.

Last year we could not help but notice all the stone, metal and wood modern sculpture all around the interior.......the work of the elderly owners' son, the Madrid artist Carlos Lopez de Ceballos, aka UBE. This year, the artist is in residence. His studio is the haybarn part of the big old farmhouse. And this year.....without a meter of snow everywhere....we can see his stuff everywhere around the prooperty.

The artist was the third person we met when we arrived, after the grumpy old farmer.....and the dog. The farmer told us the dog's name was Ilargy......Luna in Castillian, he said.

We asked the artist again for the name of the dog: "Ilargy, almost like 'Luna'. Except in Basque 'moon' really means 'light from souls of the dead.'"

"Here, boy! Here, Light of the Souls of the Dead!"

Good dog.

I knew I liked these Basques

And.....leave it to the artist to give us the real story.

The floors are highly polished cherrywood, not just your normal everyday sort of cherrywood. Amanda noticed that the sheets on the bed are not just embroidered, but the emboidered edge swoops and curls. This means that they cannot be is all handwork.

"We should be wearing these sheets.....not sleeping under them!"

Handmade embroidered sheets, hand polished cherry floors and stairs....intricate sculpture all around......big fireplace with a fire. Fifty euros a night. This includes breakfast with fresh squeezed oranges, big bowls of coffee, bread baked in the fire with jam from the trees outside and home made eclairs.

These people are not in this for the is performance art.

There are other sounds now coming from the back hall of the old place.

Uh oh. What was it the artist said?

'"Moon' in Basque means 'the light of the souls of the dead.'"

I hope that is the four-footed Ilargy back there...........


Blogger Rich said...

Pictures Jones!!!!! I want to see these polished cherrywood floors and sheets fit for fashion...


12:23 PM  

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